Volunteers are our Cornerstones
As CEO of Cornerstones, I am blessed to work with an organization that tirelessly works to serve the most vulnerable Dulles Corridor residents through housing, support services and advocacy. But one of the things that makes our impact possible is the work of our 6,013 dedicated volunteers who together provided 34,282 hours of service (valued at $916,531) this past year. Cornerstones’ volunteers tutor children, plan fundraising events, answer phones, stock the food pantry, and refurbish homes for future tenants among many other things. Cornerstones is honored to welcome all gifts, skills and ideas to further our mission of helping our neighbors take steps toward healthy, stable lives.
In fact, it is the innate desire of its residents to give back that makes the greater Reston-Herndon community a place that is welcoming to all, regardless of race, gender, income, or religion. At Cornerstones, we are fortunate to witness that spirit of our community through our volunteers. I want to take this time to specially recognize just a few of our many everyday heroes:
Leidos has partnered with Cornerstones since they moved their headquarters to Reston in 2014. Since that time, Leidos has contributed funds, helped promote the mission of Cornerstones, and has volunteered time to serve meals and collect and organize donations.
Ginny Pyster volunteers her time in a number of capacities, including tutoring West Glade neighborhood’s children, lending a hand at the food pantry, and leading the volunteer efforts for the annual Gifts for Kids Drive. As was so eloquently explained by Cornerstones Program Manager, Minnie Orozco, “We can’t build the future for our children…but Ginny has the commitment to help build our children for the future…”
Carolina Calderon has been a faithful volunteer for Cornerstones since she learned about the organization at a time when she was in need. Since then, she has volunteered countless hours assisting at the food pantry and the ESL classes at the Herndon Neighborhood Resource Center. Without her own transportation, Carolina walks 20 miles a week (regardless of the weather) to ensure that Cornerstones’ programs run smoothly.
Vince Sescoe has been a volunteer teacher for Cornerstones’ job readiness class since 2014. Vince makes clients of all backgrounds feel welcomed and supported as they build skills to lead to better employment opportunities. He gives all the extra time and attention needed to ensure that each client receives the support they need to be successful in the program and beyond.
Leading Effort 4 Poverty (LE4P) engages kids to help fundraise and organize “snack packs” for homeless and low-income children. This year, LE4P made 1,250 snack packs and prepared and donated 250 meals for individuals at the Embry Rucker Community Shelter. Along the way, LE4P gives elementary, middle, and high school students the opportunity to gain experience in leadership, team building and communication while also instilling the desire to serve others in the next generation.
Our Front Desk Volunteers are vital to the operations of Embry Rucker Community Shelter. Staff and clients rely on them each and every day to provide assistance to all who come through our doors. Be they the most affluent looking to serve or the most desperate in search of a warm place for the night, all are greeted with kindness, understanding and respect thanks largely to our Front Desk Volunteers. This group of dedicated volunteers represent the culture and diversity of our community and prove Reston to be the inclusive, caring home to people of every nationality, religion, culture, station or circumstance of life.
And finally, as CEO, I know the value of our strong Board of Directors—each a volunteer—that often goes un-sung. I want to thank the Boards of Directors of Cornerstones and Cornerstones Housing Corporation. Your leadership has helped us through difficult times and will help us now as we respond to evolving community need and opportunity to serve.
Cornerstones’ volunteers strengthen our community by providing Hope for Tomorrow Today!